The SMART principle is management jargon for a simple & unified way of setting up and checking objectives. The abbreviation of smart stands for:

  • Specific : The objective must be simple, but clear.
  • Measurable : Which metrics indicate whether or not or objective is met.
  • Acceptable : It must be accepted by your stakeholders.
  • Realistic : The have to be realistic. There is no point setting objectives that cannot be met.
  • Time : When should we reach or target?

The principle is often used in project management to define milestones, yet it is applicable in may area’s…


  • A friend of mine taught me an interesting addon to this principle. Instead of using SMART, use SMARTER (or MASTER). The E stands for “Equiped” where you also want to provide the means for your people to reach the objective.
  • Some critics have pointed out that not all objective can be noted using the SMART principle (security, happiness, …), and that it isn’t always pointless to set goals that cannot be met.

So use it where you see fit, but I find it a very good guideline for creating objectives.

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